Insights Deepfakes: Government announces new law to crack down on sexually explicit content

The Ministry of Justice has announced that the Government will introduce a new law to address sexually explicit deepfakes. We have previously commented on the legal challenges posed by deepfakes here.

The new law will make it a criminal offence to take or record an intimate image or film without consent (or a reasonable belief in consent) with intent to cause alarm, distress or humiliation, or for the purposes of sexual gratification. According to the Government’s announcement, the new offence will mean that those who create such deepfakes will “face a criminal record and an unlimited fine. If the image is then shared more widely offenders could be sent to jail”.

Commenting on the announcement, Laura Darris, Minister for Victims and Safeguarding, said, “the creation of deepfake sexual images is despicable and completely unacceptable irrespective of whether the image is shared. It is another example of ways in which certain people seek to degrade and dehumanise others – especially women. And it has the capacity to cause catastrophic consequences if the material is shared more widely. This government will not tolerate it. This new offence sends a crystal clear message that making this material is immoral, often misogynistic, and a crime.”

The new law will be introduced through an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently at the Report stage in the House of Commons. The announcement can be read in full here.